The Lagos State government in Nigeria’s south-south has supported the September 22 resumption date for all public and private nursery, primary and secondary schools in the state as announced by the Federal Government.
The Federal Government had said that the date was agreed on after a national consultation on efforts to contain the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in Nigeria.
A statement by the Special Adviser to Governor Babatunde Fashola on Information and Strategy, Lateef Raji, said that although the resumption date was advisory, as education had remained a concurrent matter to be regulated by the respective Federal and States Authorities, Lagos State Government considered it eminently justifiable.
The State government said its decision was in view of the fact that there was currently no known carrier of EVD in the State at the moment.
“Furthermore, the last individual suspected to have been exposed to the virus will be discharged from observation on September 18, 2014, if he tests negative for the virus. All public and private educational institutions in the State are therefore directed to schedule their resumption accordingly.
“Considering the current situation report, it is clear that the risk of infection with EVD in Lagos State has been significantly reduced. Health professionals working on the outbreak are also in agreement that there is no reason why schools should remain closed beyond the 22nd of September, 2014.
“In spite of the foregoing, the State Government has now developed and will deploy all resources necessary to sustain the capacity to promptly take into custody any person suspected to be infected with EVD, as well as safely test, monitor and isolate such a person for treatment as may be found necessary without endangering other members of the public,” the statement read.
Remain Very Vigilant
The State government further acknowledged the need for all Nigerians to remain very vigilant, as the disease is still in other countries within West Africa.
Some steps that should be taken in some schools, whether public or private, before and after resumption, as stated by the State government include; training and sensitisation of students, vendors, teachers and non academic staff on EVD and how to avoid it; identification of EVD Focal Persons in schools who would be responsible for surveillance and health monitoring; provision of adequate environmental sanitation, including clean toilets and premises and provision of running water and soap and encouragement of frequent hand washing.
Other important steps listed were sensitisation of students on other personal hygiene habits, like the use of handkerchiefs when sneezing or coughing and arrangement for prompt referral of any sick person to the nearest health institution for treatment.
The State government further reiterated that the health of all residents was a matter of utmost importance, stressing that if any reasons emerge for a reconsideration of the school resumption date, a well-considered decision would be taken and the general public will be informed accordingly.
In the statement, health workers were commended for their efforts in ensuring the containment of EVD.
Health institutions, which might have suffered adverse economic consequences as a result of the epidemic that has claimed seven lives in Nigeria, were assured of the State government’s plan to assist them to mitigate their loses and safely reopen for business as soon as possible.